BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) – As familiar facilities continue to open up across KELOLAND, there will be major changes to the norm due to COVID-19. Right now, The Children’s Museum of South Dakota is reopening after closing its doors because of the pandemic. But it isn’t fully reopening. They’re taking it one step at a time.
After being closed for three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Children’s Museum of South Dakota is taking a big step toward normalcy.
“We’re going to open the outdoor area for prairie play starting on July 7th for our members, and then, after a week, we’ll offer the general public the opportunity to play along,” Director of Marketing Kerrie Vilhauer said.
Opening their outdoor Prairie Play is the first phase in their reopening process. Vilhauer says they started with the outdoors to embrace summer.
“We have families who are on road trips coming by to play with their families mid-trip or even members of the community, so having the outdoor play area with Momma and Max, our dinosaurs, and the water play is just the perfect place to start,” Vilhauer said.
Right now, crews are working on weeding and mulching around the area. And Soon, They’ll be starting the water features.
“More than anything, we’re just going to be a welcoming, kind, loving, safe place – the kind of place we’ve always been for families to spend time together,” Vilhauer said.
That includes special regulations like reserving play times, encouraging social distancing and wearing masks when guests come visit.
“More than that, we’re doing what we’ve always done, which is sanitizing, cleaning, and disinfecting everything we always have. I feel like we’re a step ahead of the rest of the world in that we know this work really well,” Vilhauer said.
While it’s been a lot of work getting back to normal, they aren’t forgetting their most important goal: to play.
“Play has been a part of what we’ve done for a long time. While it may look different, it doesn’t feel different because play is how we process our feelings, and if we give our children a chance to process their feelings and see the world, and we see the world through their eyes, it’ll make us all better people,” Vilhauer said.
The outdoor area will be open exclusively to members on Tuesday, July 7th. Then it will be open to the general public the following Tuesday, July 14th. To reserve a time, you can visit the Children’s Museum of South Dakota’s website.